Saturday, September 24, 2011

Breakthought: The most important thought of the day

Any thought that is passed on to the subconscious often enough and convincingly enough is finally accepted.
Robert Collier

If I told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I'm sure you either wouldn't be surprised or that you would tell me you've heard that before dozens, if not hundreds of times. Its just one of things we know because, well, it makes sense. We measure the progress of our lives by days and plenty of cliche notions attest to it; "Today is a new day", "Live to fight another day" "Die another day" "Seize the day" and so on. Back to the thoughts on breakfast - what if we skip breakfast unintentionally or, worse off, have a habit of skipping breakfast because our lives are so busy? Stop me if you can't relate - I'd be shocked - but, ever have one of those mornings where you wake up already feeling "late" for the day so you rush right into it and start hammering away at your to do list at the crack of dawn, only to realize its suddenly 2pm and you are STARVING... Maybe you happen to be in your car at the time and you feel compelled to eat just about anything so you think "bahhh... whats one big mac?" and drive on through to the nearest golden arches. You end up making a poor decision that your body will not appreciate because you allowed your ability to consciously choose degrade to a level of desperation, just cure this awful starving feeling! What if you did quite the opposite and did have breakfast but it was some HUGE greasy mess, washed down by gallons of coffee and concentrated juices? Bloated... you lethargically review whats next for the day but can't help but be tempted to just sit on a soft perch and let your poor body deal with the pound of grease you just forced into it. My point right now is this - If our lives are a collection of days, then every day has a starting point, and if that starting point is not respected and aligned with your goals and conscious values, the rest of the day will have a hard time doing the same. Its not impossible, but why make it so difficult. Ok, yes - we know this. Eat right in the morning, take my multivitamins, drink green tea not coffee, yes yes yes, I heard this on Dr. Oz a million times, whats your point now? Again, I know this is cliche, I intentionally want to regurgitate the cliche notions to segue into this: What if the same were true for our first thought of the day? In fact, let me rephrase that. The same IS TRUE FOR OUR FIRST THOUGHT OF THE DAY.

Your body performs a host of critical digestive functions after slipping into a deep sleep, and in essence it is also "fasting", which is where the term breakfast comes from: breaking the fast. Your mind also performs a host of critical cognitive tasks after slipping into a deep sleep, and if conscious thinking is akin to eating (its something you are in control of manually) then in sleep your mind is fasting from conscious thinking. We could call your first conscious thought "Breakthought". So, lets play through the stories above through the lens of thinking and imagine how the analogy plays out. You wake up into a somewhat subconscious state of reflexive thinking. Much like a well programmed robot, you go about your tasks and to-do's. Suddenly its 2pm and you have a solid, 100% conscious thought "I didn't work on my blog today". Well, its 2pm now and there are several reasons why you don't have the time right now. You decide to work on it later when your work and to do's are done. You hear a small voice maybe, berating yourself for the small failure "I'll never be a great blogger... I'm always rushing it or don't have time", you may even feel some self pity to stir this up even more. The point is, you don't feel so hot, and on some level you think that all you do is work and take care of life's demands. Life is happening to you, you are not happening to life. Its like after eating that big mac - you rationalized it at first and in the starving moment that felt like an ok decision - but then felt like crap after eating it and carved another notch into the belief that you will never truly be a healthy person. Those notches become pretty convincing and tend to thwart further attempts later on, but I digress, lets get back to the analogy.

You have to have a picture in your mind of what you want to be. Your ideal state. There always exists your current state and your desired state, and they exist in flux because your standards either lower along with the humdrum of subconscious living, or the bar is raised along with the progress and direction of positive, outcome thinking. Since we all have these two states right here and now, nothing can stop you from causing yourself to think into the right direction. More importantly, nothing can stop you from waking up every single day and consciously thinking towards your desired direction. You know what happens to people's bodies when they eat a healthy breakfast every day, imagine what happens with our minds if we had a healthy, conscious thought every morning. The physiological response to a healthy diet is not so unlike the response to healthy conscious thinking. In fact, thinking has an even GREATER physiological response than eating. You could eat a nearly perfect diet every day, but still die of heart disease - but if you lead a life of consciousness and stress free living, your body has a better chance against disease even amidst an unhealthy diet. A statistical study on this concept can be found in Malcolm Gladwell's book: The Outliers.

You want to look good and feel healthy? Summon the words in your mind consciously every morning. Create a mantra if you have to, but be certain that if it is what is most important to you then it needs to be part of your Breakthought every morning. Even if you know you are consciously thinking every morning and you are not so subject to these described extreme examples of subconscious living, are your conscious thoughts guided by your values or goals? If you want anything bad enough, it all starts with assertive words in your mind that flow through defined values. Every single morning, across the country, two types of people wake up - Those who happen to life, and those who's lives happen to them, and it begins with a thought and goes from there until its time to sleep again. If millions can wake up and take charge of the destiny of a 24 hour period, why can't you? If every morning people can make their goals so important and critical to them that they make sure to do and think things for themselves first, why can't you?

Whether you agree with religion or not, probably one of the most common examples of a breakthought would be a morning prayer. And, if you think about it, what does this prayer do? Sets the tone. Deepens the grooves of the beliefs and values of the religious philosophies. Its like an instruction manual of values and beliefs. Over time these grooves in your mind become so deep that your faith becomes unshakable and you truly do perceive the promised perceptions of the faith in the world. The same happens when you deepen the grooves of your own values and beliefs about yourself, whether YOU PUT THEM THERE, or OTHERS PUT THEM THERE. I personally think that no matter what you believe, the important thing is that you believe in something. Almost any religious faith in this world has an example of a morning prayer and encourages followers to pray every morning. Praying and putting yourself into a state of gratitude is powerful because, according to Anthony Robbins, gratitude is the enemy of fear, and fear is the master and commander of stress, anxiety, urgency, failure, "glass half empty" thinking and so on.

As an exercise - put a note pad by your bed and for 5 minutes every morning, write down what you thought first thing in the morning, your breakthought. Ask yourself a few questions as you do this every day. Does this thought align with my personal goals and values? Is this thought conscious? As in, did I put it there or was it put there itself as a result of a feeling of anxiety, urgency, despair, panic, etc. Or was it put there subconsciously because of a strong and healthy subconscious, out of love, kindness, generosity and gratitude? Where did it come from and how is it going to serve you today, how is this going to navigate the rest of your thinking today?

Breakthought, the most important thought of the day.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Verbal parasites: But, if and try

I woke up this morning with a few thoughts in my mind immediately and I became aware of their physiological response, which I could tell was minor amounts of stress. I started to consciously listen to the language of the thoughts and realized that I was using "If" "But" and "try" a lot and its interesting how these individual words shape a sentence that not only signals a stress response but opens up further internal dialogue of uncertainty. It is that uncertainty that causes the stress response - being unsure of outcomes is, after all, what we were designed to fear and take caution with. If I don't know what will happen with the possible outcome, I feel a little surge in the stomach. The signal carries through the bloodstream and manifests further uncertain thinking. But what If I take this action, or this action, etc - and again I begin a series of ambiguous and hesitant language in my mind. Why is this happening? I'm not sure, and I don't like not being sure. I'm going to try and think of positive thoughts. Hmmmm.. that's a weak and whispering argument.There are a host of words that, structured in a certain context, can be the very cause of the beginning of a "bad day". Should and could can be powerful catalysts to thoughts of doubt. Lets dive further into today's villains... IF, BUT, and TRY


The time shifter. Worrying about the future and feeling depressed about the past can often stem from internal dialogue that contained this powerful shifter of time, these two little tiny letters that can anchor a whole host of internal doubt: IF. Once he is inside your mind, you either go back, or you go forward, and typically you will travel with trepidation and uncertainty which can then lead to worry when you go forward and regret when you go back. If needs to be tamed and put to use when you say so! Appropriate use could be productive curiosity in a science lab, but let's be abundantly clear: If needs to be banned from unbridled thinking - especially first thing in the morning! If has no business steering thoughts. As we know, the right collection of words spoken inside are exactly what the brain is looking for to signal production of chemicals that change the states of our body. If is afraid of clear and repeated goals and visions. IF will cringe in the corner in the face of assertion. IF wont even try to enter the domain of the conscious mind that has a strong sense of self, values, and goals. Waking up with a statement like "I feel fantastic today and I am a wonderful person ready to have another brilliant day. I feel so strong and capable. I feel ready and prepared and certain and can't wait to see what the day offers" begins such positive perspective, its like spraying your mind with a can of bug repellent, except this time its to ward off the bugging thoughts of doubt.


The negator. BUT's clever trick - to take any collection of words and go back and eat them all as if they never existed. "I feel great today BUT I wish I had more money" Well... But just ate the part that says "I feel great today", leaving the rest to form the next series of thoughts. But is commonly used in criticism, and since this blog is chiefly concerned with internal dialogue, it stands to reason that BUT can do even more damage, wreak more havoc - because you are criticizing yourself! The most wonderfully crafted thought that could steer you to more positive thinking can all come to a crashing halt the second that BUT is allowed to emerge. "Man, I feel good today. I cant wait to go for that run, its going to feel so good. Afterwards I will go visit my mother and we can chat over tea. Its so good to connect regularly with Mom again. Ohhh.... BUT wait, I forgot about my dentists appointment. Shit, its at 3pm. Well that's in the middle of the day I cant plan around that. Traffic gets bad around then so I cant plan to drive down to the path for a run. Damn it, I should have thought of that sooner. Why cant I plan better? If only I was using a day planner stupid things like this wouldn't happen. Oh well, maybe another day." Its that easy for BUT to steer you into all kinds of doubt, and the feeling swells and gives you so much cause for concern that abandoning the positive perceptions altogether seem all that will satisfy this monster. BUT is not welcome in the conscious mind of certainty. BUT is rarely seen in positive outcome thinking. Got a BUT problem? Stay positive and repeat positive, affirming words and watch him shrivel to the void from whence he came.

The weakener. TRY will attack positive, outcome thinking and weakening it, making it easier for IF and BUT to go in for the kill. If you are constantly in a state of uncertainty, devoid of goals and outcome thinking, you'll often find yourself thinking of uncertain "half solutions". I could TRY this or I could TRY that, maybe then I will be happy. I will TRY to read more of my book today. I will TRY to make time to walk the dog today. I will TRY to feel good today. That last one is a perfectly good start to a series of powerful, affirming, positive outcome thoughts that can steer you into more strength and will. Insert TRY, however, and now you have that same possibility completely weakened. Its a weakening word. As Yoda said... "Do, or do not. There is no try".

Innoculate yourself of these parasitic words in your mind. Catch yourself, catch these little buggers in their tracks. If changing your thinking truly can change your life - what are thoughts but words inside your mind? What are those words, and are you making sure not only to keep them positive, but also guarding yourself against the ones that would steer you otherwise?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Letting go part 2...

Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.

Arthur Somers Roche quotes

Its over. You try to move on and get back to life. It seemed like a logical decision at the time but not long after, no matter how well thought out the break up was, it's rationale is suddenly foggy. You cant even remember your logic. The more caught up you feel in the swirling thoughts of "what if?" and "is this right" the more the feelings grow inside, the weaker your body gets. A lump in the throat, heart skipping and thudding. The words of your thoughts are slow to form, forming agendas to convince you to change your mind. Was it that bad? You forget why this is happening. The change in life is too much to bear. Your subconscious engineered a reliance on the patterns of this relationship, yet it was your conscience that argued the rationale that day. The subconscious is not happy with the meddling conscience and, being infinitely more powerful, sets in motion the thoughts and biochemical responses, demanding that you - the conscious driver of this life, return things to habitual comfort. Resistance is futile, the sobconscious commands every signal and receptor in your body. Just make this stop... ok... I will try to get it back. Just make it stop. Make this anxiety stop...

According to Richard Bandler, there are two types of fear: Phobias and Anxiety. A phobia is associated with external stimuli, objects, situations, things that could occur in the environment around the phobic. Anxiety is associated with internal stimuli, thoughts, feelings, imagined scenarios, worrying, stressing. A phobia is a very manageable type of fear. Since it involves extrernal stimuli, the logical thing to do is simply avoid the stimuli. Were it so easy with anxiety. The nature of anxiety is to literally paralyze the body's functions from within, to send a strong message that your entire being is incapacitated due to change. LIke a flood of memories, the stark realization of every detail of the past can render one breathless. Since we cant just "walk away" like we do with a phobia (in most cases), we may decide or find the strength to breathe deep breaths to regulate oxygen and return the heart to its normal heart rate, returning blood flow to the brain and allowing us to think more clearly. A decision is often made to act. We are, after all, designed to survive and that very much includes surviving our own self destruction. In a the case like above, we tend to rationalize ways to reverse the change. Employing outside opinions, strengthening the resolve to undo the damage and fit the piece that was just ripped out back into place. To do anything else would require great strength, and statistically, most of us dont got it, especially not the first time anyway. Conscious vs Subconscious. Thats like David and Goliath. In other circumstances, like a loss of job, or other such extreme circumstances, when reversing it isnt an option, the subconscious can deliver a powerful dose of despair.. enough to convince us that we're screwed!

I'm not trying to give the subconscious a bad rap here. Its a collossolly powerful supercomputer that you designed yourself between the ages of 0-6, plugging in "add-ons" and peripherals, and upgrades ever since and its just doing what it was designed to do. This powerful beast doesnt always bend to a single command from the conscience - in fact, its well known that you often need to command it for 28 days straight before it will actually listen. The habituation of programmed perceptions and responses can often play a major role in the anxiety we feel when we are trying to "let go" of the part of ourselves we are trying to remove in order to replace it with a preconcieved goal or change.

When we are consciously assertive about a direction we want to take, it makes sense to write it down and measure it. We need reminders because in that moment, you were arriving at a conscious conclusion, only to continue to operate unconsciously shortly after. Unconsciously and reflexively, we go about our daily business by virtue of the commands of our subconscious. That breath you just took? You didnt tell your lungs to do that. Ok thats a pretty lame one. Those keys you are pressing to type this blog? Your barely thinking about where they are. Its been done enough so that the conscious can divert its energy to more creative and improving endeavors. Neglecting to remind ourselves and repeating why we think the change is necassary, or making the change too abruptly, can lead to a painful and challenging "let go" process, where much anxiety can set in. Two things you can do here. Either visualize the change and think it through daily, adding new thoughts and rationale to it, affirming your belief in it until you are ready to actually orchestrate the change, thereby lessening the subconscious' coming attempt to repeal your logic - meaning less anxiety. Or learn how to deal with the anxiety, which makes sense if the decision needs to happen fast.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If you stand up and declare that from this day forward I will go to the gym every day - you might just pull it off. If you have the strength and will to resist the coming complaints of your habits that were content to fill the time you are now allotting for the gym. No simple task. Letting go of the part of the change requires awareness and repetetive affirmations. Letting go of a change that you didnt sign up for is a little trickier, but several NLP methods are available to do either, such as the swish pattern. Statistically, we operate 95% subconsciously, and 5% consciously - some even more extreme. This makes it challenging to cope with change and to "let go"

Some folks take a different approach, choosing to live conscsiously as often as possible, repeating the words of their beliefs, forming powerful convictions. Letting go of the ugly side of change is probably a scarce problem for these folks because they dont exist day to day as a subconscious drone, only to wake up in ten years with the conscious and depressing curiosity as to what the hell they have been doing with themselves over the years.

I leave you with this inspiring video of someone who challenges himself to live extremely consciously every day - his power to let go of his resistance is so strong, that resistance has simply become an invigorating reason to try harder consciously:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fake it till you make it

"You affect your subconscious mind by verbal repetition."
W. Clement Stone

I never used to like the concept of "fake it until you make it." It came to feel to me like the most cliche advice you would get from corporate leaders who would pass on their wise kernels of company doctrine to young and aspiring leaders.
"How do I learn how to lead?"
"Fake it till you make it"
Recently, I've had a new take on this, and I think that by seeing it through a new perspective, I see now that this is a very powerful presupposition of NLP: Modelling. Model the end result consciously until the subconscious falls in to line. Let me look at it from another angle first. In an earlier post, I had this quote:

"Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words.
Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions.
Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits.
Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character.
Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny."
Author unknown

I've always liked this quote, and I've even found a few posts that have broken it down line by line, attributing it to the "Law of Attraction"... simply stating that by changing your thinking, you can change your destiny. I agree....BUT... changing the thinking of the conscious mind is easy. You could go ahead and do it right now. Take any thought you want and go ahead and think it - you have complete freedom to do so. But can you change your subconscious mind so easily? Is taking a few moments to think positive thoughts in a conscious state going to change the lifetime of stimulus / response changes that control up to 95% of our waking lives without any conscious efforts on our parts? If I simply think a certain way, do my actions, habits and characters simply just fall into place over time? They probably will for as long as I can stay conscious, but as soon as I need to revert to subconscious automation - not so much. What if you look at the quote backwards. It's becoming more and more common belief that this is how we change our subconscious. Act as if you believe, act as if it is your character, act as if it is your destiny, and eventually your habits, actions, and thoughts become reflexive, subconscious. If you decided you wanted to follow a new religion tomorrow, would you pray first and then believe? Or believe first and then pray?

I recently went through Doctor Phil's "Self Matters" program. Wonderful way to really unearth your history and really see what makes you tick. I liked that it didn't stop there though, as so many "counselling" type programs would. It stressed the importance of "changing the tapes". A very familiar concept in the NLP realms. You see, its not enough to just unearth our history and find out why we do what we do. Replay traumatic events and emotionally live through darker moments and memories. Its obvious we, as a species, are catching on to the fact that we need to take it a step further because countless books are being written about it and entire studies devoted to understanding the success of it. Faking it until you make it. "Act as if". You will find it in The Law of Attraction and The Secret, and if that's not scientific enough and backed well enough by academic statistics, then try "The Biology of Belief", or "Change or Die", and of course, don't forget - it is a pillar of Neuro Linguistic Programming - which takes it all even further by turning it into a replicable process, rife with methodology. The subconscious is where all of our power and programming is truly stored, but we can't be fools and think that it simply obeys the commands of our conscious thinking. It requires conditioning and belief. Repetition, affirmations, playing the part of what we imagine to be the desired state just long enough so that eventually it can take over and command our body to reflexively complete the actions and chemical production necessary to sustain the destiny that we have imagined and acted out.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Letting go: The ugly side of change

"Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment
is the only one you know you have for sure."
~Oprah Winfrey~

Someone once said to me that either life is happening to you, or you are happening to life. Its a profound dichotomy. It allows you to take any moment in your life, and measure it beneath column A or column B, if you choose to do so. Putting it that simply is a very telling revelation to the strength of your will to live your own life. Our experiences begin to shape our character and write our history from the day we are born. Lets face it, for the first part of our lives, the world happens to us. We rise up through a period of conscious and unconscious information gathering, sensory perceptions that, over time, build the very fabric of our character. Its like we are in this insatiable phase of learning; engineering our personalities inside of us. We experience joy, pain, love, heartbreak, security, abandonment, confidence, and so on. But eventually, after the character development has matured, we come across a critical moment in our life, and many more will follow. These moments could be so many different things, times, places, feelings, senses, but what they have in common is that they confront you with a thought or feeling that is telling you "something has to change". And you are confidant in that moment, you have a very very assertive tone inside your mind that is convinced that change is necassary, we need to redirect here! I'm not talking about the overwhelmingly emotionally tramautic moments in life where you are fighting for your life, I'm talking about the somewhat quiet time of reflection where you just know, and your rationale that follows flows effortlessly and unabided from fear.

Pause time completely for a moment. It is here and now that your choice becomes I am going to happen to life, or life is going to happen to me (within the context of the thought). Before that, maybe you were oblivious and had no idea, but now you do and you are confidant that you need to move down a new path. Much of our life is subconscious and reflexive and is doing absoluteley no harm to us, but we are beautifully designed creatures that all seek some kind of meaning - and moments like this are our chance to get closer to it. Perhaps its in these moments that we truly hear God, and we get our chance to choose. When we DO choose, though, it means we have to let go of something. And that's where it all becomes so hard and that perfectly logical rationalization becomes a distant memory. The pain can cause us to grow stronger, or find the shortest route back to the old path and make it stop!

Changing always involves letting go, forcing us into a more conscious world where we are vulnerable and exposed again like a child. The older and more entrenched the old ways were, the harder it is to let go! The harder the change, the more exhausting it is to keep going! So why is letting go so hard? Why do we have those "ah ha!" moments of brilliance and confidence, only to have them snuffed out days later from the pain of letting go? We get confused and can't think clearly any more and build an argument to return to the days before we were aware of this need for change. Basic and emotional messages enter the mind "I cant do this"..."I'm scared"..."I'm not going to make it"..."I want to go back!"... or "Fuck this!" When you hear them in your mind, do they sound as well thought out as the original thought towards the opposite? Do they sound mature and articulated, or do they have a highly emotional, child-like essence to them? What do we feel in our bodies as we experience this painful "letting go" process? Its really no different than any other change, its just that this is one that we chose so we, in essence, invited the stress response upon ourselves. Its hard to imagine quitting your job just because you dont like it, yet if you lost it - you could get over it, you could move on. Its hard to imagine breaking up with someone you love but arent working with, but if they cheated on you and broke your heard, you could get over it , you could move on. Its hard to imagine suddenly completely changing your physical health routine, but if it suddenly became the law that you must go to the gym every day or go to jail, you could change and go, and get over the couch that you missed spending so much time on.

The stress response is hard to deal with, and it begins when we experience change. As if we don't face enough, its even harder to deal with when it seems like you brought it upon yourself! "Why am I doing this to myself? It wasnt that bad!". The stress response was designed to get you back to safety, but in doing so it also has to redirect your resources! Physiologically, blood moves to the muscles and areas where fight or flight becomes more effective - and away from the brain and the immune and digestive system. We feel like shit when we are stressed and to make matters worse, we quite literally cannot think clearly! There is no flight, there is no fight, so with our limited brain capacity - we begin to have thoughts in our minds about returning to the old state, even seeking out affirmations through conversations, music, reading. This feeling of weakness will all go away if I could just get back to the way I was before, before I brought this change on. That is your moment. Your moment to breathe deeply, think as clearly as you can (sometimes repeating something very basic that reminds you why the change is good) returns you to that state where you can rationally think again. Every time you can succesfully prevail, demonstrates your will and strength and will give you an understanding of just how much you have and can grow on. Yeah, its shitty the way we are designed sometimes, physiologically allergic to change, but that same bio-engine has unlimited potential for taking anything you truly want in life.

When we know what we need to do, we are no longer ignorant of the question: Are we happening to life? Or is life happening to us?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

From Thought to Destiny

"Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words.

Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions.

Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits.

Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character.

Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny."

Author unknown

I remember when I took NLP training from Steve Boyley ( - a few years ago and we were talking about the power of thought and internal dialogue and how it can literally shape your state. He went on to tell us how when he wakes up in the morning he puts a massive grin on his face and has this voice that he has fine tuned to the loudest possible internal volume with the happiest, most excited tone and literally screams to himself inside his mind something like "GOOD MORNING! WHAT A FANTASTIC DAY! I AM SO LUCKY TO WAKE TO THIS MARVELOUSLY BEAUTIFUL DAY! I FEEL ALIVE, I FEEL ENERGIZED, I FEEL AMAZING!!" And I remember thinking.... "Good THAT is cheesy".... I could think of days where you could hold up a megaphone into my ear and do the exact same thing and I wouldn't wake up, I'd get up and punch you in the face then go back to sleep. But.... then I tried it. And I gave it a sincere attempt too, I really had a long chat with myself and made sure that I believed it would work, and holy shit does it ever! And the funny thing is, its because every other day prior to this little epiphany, I wake up and my dialogue went more like this. "Morning already? Damnit.... did I even sleep? I feel so tired. I need coffee." My first thoughts of the day were I AM TIRED - well guess what? I FELT TIRED. I know what you are thinking - "well - you probably WERE tired. Hmmm, I don't know about this blog, sounds like he's off his nut" Well... be careful, because if you're thinking that, then you've already begun to put yourself in a state that doubts anything else I am about to write aren't ya? Oh, what a trickster... but I'm only half kidding! We really do CONSTANTLY shift states as our thoughts and self talk run amuck inside our minds! Surely you have heard someone say to you before "I'm exhausted just thinking about it!" Thats TRUE! You can biochemically respond to having physically exhausting thoughts and begin to "feel" exhausted. There was a scene in the movie "The Secret" where it they had some Olympic Athletes hooked up to a monitor and even tough they were "visuallzing" an upcoming event - their brain showed that it was communicating with and firing up the same muscles as if they were in that event.

If the poem is true, and I think that it is, then our destiny begins with a thought, and that thought could be an audacious, thundering assertion, or a careless whisper in the mind. The law of attraction and "The Secret" present a similar notion "Think it and command the universe to make it so", and in doing so it takes the guess work out of what happens in between. The irony of "The Secret" is that this very concept probably contends for the most repeated and quoted philosophical, psychological and scientific theory out there. It is no secret - it's more like "The Tragedy", because its tragic how well acquainted we all are with this, yet choose not to command its power. No matter what it is called, it works, it really does. Even by doubting it, it proves that it works!

I have a hard time with such fluffy notions and still think that there's a lot of "hoopla" in "The Secret" - but I cant argue with the power that thoughts have and how its incredible how they manifest. I was in Steve's NLP class and I can was having a hard time with an exercise because I realized that even though I was speaking and following instruction, my thoughts were all voices of doubt. I was not congruent so I would never realize the effectiveness of the tool until I actually matched up my thoughts. It was the switch that made the exercise work - I was astounded and still continue to be when I repeat it. Again, though, I'm too scientific to take anything at face value, I must know what is happening! How can a thought actually come to create one's reality? How can changing your mind actually change your life? It had to be answered. I wish my next sentence would go on to explain that I know exactly how, not so, but I certainly feel a lot closer, and made me wish that I could go back in time and add a lot more Biochemistry to my studies. Thinking, as it turns out, actually creates a physiological response, a feeling, an emotion. The more authority your mind's voice has, the stronger the response. It works for and against you!

The easiest to explain and easiest to understand this physiological response is the stress response - as illustrated above. I was sitting in my backyard the other day, enjoying the solitude, the still and sunny day when a thought entered my mind "Oh my God! It is Sunday! I need to make sure I reply to all of my work emails tonight and plan for my conference calls tomorrow. I haven't thought about what our priorities will be next week, I should have done that. I will rush it now and it won't be an effective strategy. Ah... crap, speaking of Monday, I have an appointment - shit... what time is it at? I should check my planner. I did write it down right? I hope I did... God I'm so bad at that I need to get more organized. My planner is too bulky to lug around I cant expect to whip it open every second of the day at a moments notice?" The thoughts just fed each other and it was as if it was a roller coaster building unstoppable momentum, getting louder and faster! I then I hear my daughter calling my name is if it was the third time and I wasn't paying attention and I turn around with a loud impatient voice and reply "WHAT???"... the adrenaline must have added volume and intensity into my voice. After snapping out of it, I compose myself with a thought about how that is my beautiful little girl and I am a good father. Work can wait, I need to calm down and focus on her. And I apologized, my voice now much softer and my eyes I'm sure looked loving because I could see the expression slowly begin to reflect back at me from her face.

The escalating thoughts of work created stress. Our minds and bodies have evolved over the course of 40 million years. Today's complex reasons and causes for stress are only a couple of hundred years old, so stress is stress and when it happens - we are ready to fight or flight, just like our ancestors might have done when they heard the roar of a sabretooth tiger coming around the corner! My voice was loud and intense because I was in a state of hyper alertness. As I thought - I visualized, my brain saw the thought (for some you may hear it more so than seeing it, depends on primary sense, etc) which caused a signal to be sent to my adrenal glands, which in turn produced adrenaline - and just like that, I have adrenaline pumping through my veins. I am now stronger, faster, louder, and ready to fight or run. My ability to control my thoughts has been altered because I will tend to think with such intensity which only further signals stress and alarm. It took great conscious self awareness as forced myself to break state and think about my daughter and tried to reason with the beast that was just summoned. And because I did this, the right cocktail of serotonin and dopamine was ordered up by the transmission sent by my thought. This then caused me to feel more relaxed, happier and focused, allowing these thoughts to further occur more naturally, thereby bringing more peaceful congruence to the interaction with my little girl. Basically.... you have a pharmacist in your body that can whip up the right cocktail of perfectly balanced chemicals for the occasion to prepare your body to feel and align with your thoughts. That is freaking cool.

Have you ever "been on a roll"? Where you suddenly feel that victory is at hand and you just keep getting better? When you know exactly what the goal is, and you feel yourself coming close to the victory lap of attaining the goal, you actually signal a strong dose of dopamine. This perfectly measured blend of victory juice is just enough to increase your strength, focus, among other "winning" attributes to seal the deal and reap the reward. As you think and shout " I DID IT! I DID IT! I WON!!" you summon even more of the good stuff, which sets your pleasure centre on fire! You feel SO GOOD! In FACT, if you were in a prize fight and were seriously injured while winning, it EVEN BLOCKS the pain! To make things even crazier, this victorious elation comes with a big does of adrenaline too, to get you ready to DO IT AGAIN! Its truly remarkable how we developed language to literally create commands that set into motion these symphony's of chemistry within our bodies. This winning chemistry is what athletes crave. Once they reach this biochemical state its almost impossible to stop them because not only are their bodies and minds responding accordingly to the thought "I am winning!" but their opponent is also starting to respond to the thought "I am losing!".

When you want to bring about change in your life, or when you are coaching someone else and helping them to bring about change, this concept of thoughts into actions is critical. You're in for an incredibly uphill battle when you set out on your journey to your outcome, forcing an action against a thought. Not even the best liar in the world can make his body work against his thoughts. Do you remember when Clinton stood there and said "I did not have sexual relations with that woman"? His thoughts were "Yes I did!" and the body takes orders from the mind, not the mouth, and sure enough he looked and sounded as guilty as ever. I have loudly declared that "I'm going to clean this house!!" many times, but I was thinking " I really don't want to..." Sure enough, wouldn't you know it? Something came up and I didn't get round to it. Thoughts are the most powerful force in the world, and they are ours to command.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Change Analogy #1: You versus You. Court is in session

I don't know about you, but I think Matthew McConaughey, as an actor, was born to portray a passionate and ambitious lawyer. Some of my favorite movies of his is where he portrays this heroic lawyer, passionately fighting for a cause against all odds. What I love about his characters is that he always starts off as an arrogant, overly confidant defending lawyer with a condescending yet charismatic exaggerated southern drawl. You get the feeling that he thinks he stands to win no matter what, even though he is up against all odds, but you know better. There always seems to be a moral turning point where the true character emerges though and suddenlt you feel different. From here he takes the case to new levels, employing several specialists, building a team to re-create a new perspective and a passionate case to bring the verdict home as the prosecutor watches the case slip away from their grasp in the story's final scenes. You love to hate him at first and you wrestle with his perspective, only to cheer for him and his cause towards the end. In some movies, it doesn't always end in him believing in the cause he started with, but he sure does a great job of bringing the scripts' paradigm shifts to believable life.

A courtroom is a place where an outcome is at stake; either the current perception remains, or it is changed. The defendant sits on the bench accused of murder. The perception is murder is wrong. Before the proceedings begin, the defendant sits in the perception of wrong, and it is up to the lawyer to change that perception. A courtroom is a place where the plaintiff accuses an institution of wrongdoing - they are suing because they slipped on the sidewalk of their establishment and believe it is their fault and wish to pursue proving this. Slipping and hurting yourself is wrong , nobody wants that. An emotion is tied to the suffering. Or, conversely, some folks have already decided to start with the other perception - this is a another money-grubbing so and so. Either way - most of the audience can't help but start with a perception and await for proof to buy into the other perception. Scripts to these types of scenarios that make it to the big screen purposely try to have you sit in one perception for half of the movie, so as to give more meat to the efforts the heroic lawyers go to to change not only the jury's perception in the back half of the drama, but the audience at home as well. Crafted well enough, they are carefully written to make you think and relate, and perhaps more importantly, make you feel - as you join the underdog in his quest to change the tides. As our protagonist comes closer to the truth and building the case with the help of his specialist team portrayed by emotionally compelling actors (who doesn't love Sandra Bullock's character in "A time to Kill", or William H Macey in the "Lincoln Lawyer") - more and more conflict arises. The long lasting change in perception that will occur when the javelin is struck is not wanted and not welcome - and the popular perception fights hard to avoid the coming outcome.

Is internal change so unlike this? Think of something you wanted to change. Lets say you want to get into a new habit of reading more every day. The outcome is that you want to be more educated and knowledgeable in a subject that you know you are passionate about. But you don't! Why? Before long, you may see that other habits have developed that are deeply entrenched in your subconscious that you know are not conducive to your outcome. They are, in fact, taking the time in your life that could have and should be dedicated to this time for reading or studying to better yourself to an ends of living your passion. In this moment, the bad habits stand accused. They are delivered a summons to appear in court because you are accusing them of taking valuable time in your life that could have been dedicated to what you really want to do! Now, if we are talking small, relatively new, and almost insignificant habits that can easily interchange with good habits, you can probably just exercise your right to a lawyer paid for by the government. That new kid, fresh out of law school, her eyes like a deer in headlights, salivating at the chance to prove the case. And this small, arbitrary habit, can only afford a cheap, fly-by-night sleeze bag of a lawyer after seeing their ad on tv at 4am. Chances are good that you will win the case and the bad habit will be sent to prison so the good habit can prevail! Your rookie law-kid didn't even need to research much - the case was pretty much closed because the jury and the judge took one look at it and thought "no brainer". Could be something as simple as taking a new route to work because you get there faster and get an hour back of your life. Shit... that's easy...

But!! What if you catch on to the trail of a stronger habit - lets pretend this one is a serial killer or ruthless gangster, for perspective, the chilling likes of the ones you might see in such movies as The Usual Suspects. The type that has gone undetected and grows stronger and stronger, perfecting his craft along the decades of his destructive behaviors, always getting better and better at avoiding the law and avoiding detection, leaving no evidence behind. Yes, this evil habit is a regular Kaizer Soze of villains, and the court appointed lawyer will get ripped to shreds by his masterfully crafted manipulations. This bastard of a habit will charm the jury into believing YOU are wrong for even accusing him! Chances are, he'll win the case! To make matters worse - he's got the most cutthroat, expensive lawyer on the payroll! His wicked ways have amassed great wealth, enough to hire the best of the best - I'm thinking Kevin Spacey from A time to kill. And what if he does win the case? I don't know much about law but I'm pretty sure you're only allowed to bring a case to court a very short few times (once, maybe?) - otherwise its "case closed" - unless you bring new, unrelated and compelling evidence! You got that one shot at making this happen. Further attempts will degrade your case's credibility. Each re-attempt gets more and more difficult!

So you are going to need a hero. And your hero is going to need a lot of effort, passion, compelling evidence, and a good team of specialists to make the case and win! A case this big will take a long time to fight. It will go to court day in and day out, with witnesses taking the stand and testimonies being given. There will be times where the new perception grows weary and feels like its out of evidence, and may as well give in to what seems like an inevitable verdict. Where that team needs to stay up till 4am researching, searching for clues and building a lasting case that will win, so that the bad habit / serial killer can be put away and the good habit / perception can truly take hold! As I've said several times- the subconscious is an incredibly powerful force - and it operates on the perceptions its been allowed to cement as your reality. Imagine that the subconscious is that judgmental, one sided jury and judge with a highly credible lawyer convincing it not to change their mind from the familiar perception. Your conscious is the plaintiff - sick of the current perception and fighting to bring change.

What habits stand accused in your life that need to make way for your desired habits? How much are you willing to invest in a "lawyer?" Does that lawyer have access to the resources to build your case? Is that lawyer passionate and ready to put up a good fight or are you only investing in the cheapest defense/ prosecution? There are little to no quick fixes in life, a good fight needs a good fighter. You may have experienced this in the past when you have tried to change a habit, felt like you were so close, only to end up back to the old habits. How hard are you willing to fight for change? Lasting change? Put the bad habits away for life, dont make them simply wait for a few weeks to win their way back into your reality because their lawyer beat your lawyer.

Monday, September 5, 2011

NLP Change basics in a retail or sales setting

Further to my thoughts on change basics in the prior post - I'd like to illustrate the use of NLP Change basics in a sales or retail setting. If one were to ask - how can I apply these principals as a leader or coach in a retail setting - it may look like this.

Lets look at Tommy, your relatively new sales rep you've recently hired to sell on the floor at your retail store. Tommy is at the point where is is well acquainted with his job description and is ready to accept monthly or weekly sales quotas. He knows what his target is, and he knows he needs to hit it. How can we apply these change basics here? Well, if we leave it as is - you have given him the company's desired outcome and of course, he now understands his own current state. Through the month or weeks, he will compare his current state to the company's desired state: sales targets! Probably the most important aspect of his job, no matter how many bullet points fall under "job description" is "RESULTS" - and anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves, ha! So here is the company's biggest desired outcome looming over him month after month while he toils to solve the PROBLEM; Close the gap between zero sales and the sales quota. Now as an indvidual, if slaving it for the man and being nothing but a problem solver every day is an issue for him, he could take the initiative and reframe the company's outcome as his own outcome and design some self development that also satisfies the company's needs, so he can grow! Man it would be nice to find those kind of employees eh? Lets assume our little Tommy is more status quo and is in danger of developing the cynical rhetoric that is so common in folks who "put in their time" as they realize that day in and day out - they never get to look forward to another step in their own outcome journey, but instead need to punch in and solve the day's problems for the big bad company. So we'll coach him on this using the 4 questions. Now, this is tricky because in setting this goal we need to be mindful of the ecology and insure the sales targets are still getting met and not get too loosey goosey with context.

"Tommy, WHAT is your desired outcome?"
" Well, uh... to achieve my sales targets every month, of course!"
" Are they really your sales targets?"
"Oh, well, uh, no I suppose they are the company target given to me... I mean its not like its my business or I own it or anything"
"Right, your target is a piece of the big target and eventually rolls up into a national company target - an outcome the company needs within a time frame. But what about you? What is YOUR desired outcome?"
"Well, I suppose I'd like to be the top rep in the store?"
"There you go, so your quite competetive hm?"
" Well, yeah I guess, but not really.. I mean I don't like stepping on people's toes or anything. I'd feel good if I was at least above average and hitting target"
"Why do you want to be top rep then?"
"I dont know I just figured that sounded good"
"I hear you... but If you don't think you're competetive, wouldn't you think that aiming to be top rep could be challenging? Does that sound like an outcome that fits your personality?"
"No I guess not... I could aim to be one of the most knowledgeable reps then!"
"I hear excitement in that idea - tell me why?"
"Well, I love soaking up knowledge and helping people by always having the answer. I like being the techy guy"
"I think we are the right path - so take a moment and think, how will you achieve this? How will you know when it is true?"
"Hmmm... well I will make sure to be first to complete any upcoming courses and insure I set an example and make it out to any vendor training events. I can really work on my sales pitch so the customer gets the sense and comfort that he's dealing with the technical guy. I suppose I'd know if I'd arrived when I start hearing people say "Oh ask Tommy, he'd know that".
"What if there are no courses available and what if you find that your pitch is overwhelming customers?"
"There's always something available, I could do some research outside of work or use other websites to dig even deeper, subscribe to RSS feeds on my phone and tablet, which I already do anyway actually. I could practice my pitch first on other sales reps, get them to give me honest feedback"
"Great!! Lets review our conversation here and review your desired outcome one more time before we adjourn today. I'd also like you to think about what action you can take the instant we finish this session to get the momentum going!"

Again, this is a basic level use of outcome thinking to create change. Uncovered in this example are answers to the 4 questions:
1. What is your desired outcome?
2. Why do you desire this outcome?
3. What are you going to do to get there?
4. What if something goes wrong?

I've actually had this conversation myself with a rep in the past - I ad-libbed quite a bit of course because my memory is not exactly 20-20 - but the long and short of it is, this rep went on to achieve his sales targets or close every month - never really falling short enough to cause alarm and I respected that he'd never be one of those types of people driven by success or competition. He was a behind the scenes kind of guy and liked to support a team as they went to seek success and glory. So the company is getting its problem solved and meeting its desired outcome, meanwhile Tommy isn't even really thinking about that outcome - instead he aligned personal outcomes that were meaningful and led to a satisfactory result, while also personally developing and feeling valuable as part of the team.

Change Basics

“An organism is an integrated collection of problem-solving devices –
that is, adaptations – that were shaped by natural selection over
evolutionary time to promote, in some specific way, the survival of the
genes that directed their construction" - Modern Darwinism

Whether you subscribe to evolutionary theory or not, I dont think many can argue that we are problem solvers. Even an amoeba is a problem solver. If its environment is not conducive to survivability, its got a problem and it needs to solve it! Humans, on the other hand, have so much more than just a brainstem, like most animals, to aid in problem solving. We have the ability to think in the future, past, associate feelings with thoughts, make choices and so on.
When I think of this perspective, I think of all the problems I face day to day and how my mind goes about solving them. There's the problems of today - which usually require a few decisions in the moment, and ba-da-bing ba-da-boom we're off to the races and solving the problems, then there's the more complex problems of the coming week in work, home, personal, etc, then there's the even more complex problems of the coming months, years, etc. Depending on our level of stress and priorities, values and so on - we deal with each of these strategically or we give the power to the complex problem solving mechanisms of our subconscious.

Unfortunately, if you are anything like me or most of the population in the western world - we tend to think in problems, as opposed to outcomes. Outcome thinking is a cornerstone of NLP strategy in self improvement. NLP consists of an extensive array of tools for improving your life, yet without pre-defined outcomes, the process is nearly redundant. In the book "Stumbling on Happiness" Daniel Gilbert convincingly asserts that control is the key to happiness. I don't mean control freaks are happy, I mean that the more control you have over your outcomes and the problems you are choosing to solve to get to those outcomes, the happier you are. I can recall several weeks of my life and still have several occur where I had nothing but problems to solve that satisfied the outcomes desired by OTHERS, and a whole seven days would go by where I either didnt stop to realize that my outcomes were not defined and therefore easy to put on the backburner, or I allowed myself to believe that "OHHHHH I'm too busy! The sky is falling!! AHHHHHHhhh!!" Yet somehow I managed to slip in 10 hours of zoning out to a couple of movies and 2 hours of 3 minute check face book intervals as I felt sorry for my existance, and I'm sure all the "look at my blackberry" seconds added up to a good couple hours as well. Such patterns tend to lead up to a dismal day of self retreat and disinterest because you get that feeling that you are simply here to serve the world and start asking yourself "when was the last time I did something for me?" Dangerous territory - and unfortunatlely this is usually the points where we feel a spark of motivation to turn things around, but in doing so fail to address the specific outcomes we are striving for and the spark isnt enough to get the engine moving. We are acting out of despair and negative motivation. The process rarely lasts unfortunately. Let me assure you that many grand accomplishments and turning points have come from despair - such as surviving a car accident, or disease, or other such trauma... but rarely does that engine truly turn over when your trying to get motivated from just feeling bad for having a few lousy overwhelming weeks in the game of life, and worse so, you can tarnish a perfectly good goal by associating it with periods of perceived failure. "Bah... whats the point, I'll never get into acting on my time off, look at the last few times I tried, something always came up. Its not meant to be"
And we retreat back to the problem solving organism we are, waiting for the next PROBLEM!

What is a problem though? A problem is simply the space between CURRENT STATE and DESIRED STATE, or "Outcome". As the quote above said - we are in a CONSTANT state of problem solving. Our complex minds are always busy at work solving hundreds of problems day to day, while we are only conscious of perceiving a chosen few within the forefront, or conscious. These conscious problems though, occurring throughout our busy lives - what percentage of them are filling the space between your current state and someone else's outcome? How often in a given day are you solving a problem because you have a clearly defined personal outcome to improve yourself? If you know of a personal outcome you have defined in your mind, have you taken it through a criteria to insure you truly will try to solve the problem in the middle? Does it match the values you are living today? NLP teaches early on that, at a basic level, ask yourself a few basic questions about your desired outcome before proceeding on the journey ( thanks to Joseph O'Connors book on NLP for illustrating these questions so clearly):

1. WHAT is my desired outcome? Is it clearly defined?
2. WHY do I desire this outcome? This answer looks at your values (see previous posts). Do they match this goal? Are they going to guide you to this goal? How can you find the right values within you to get you on the path to this goal?
3. HOW will I get to my desired outcome? Your strategy. Ecology check (more on that later).
4. WHAT if something goes wrong? Risk management and contingency planning.

Its only a start, but its certainly helped me. I've been guilty of setting a few outcomes that sure were nice to visualize and begin the motion towards, however I didn't necassarily follow these basics steps - as if to suggest to myself that I can have any goal, pile it on! I'll take on anything - a lofty path to rude awakenings. Kind of like what I was saying with proactive inhibition - sometimes you need to do an inventory of what to remove, when you want to replace it with something. You cant just keep adding on. Most importantly - my learning here is to have my outcome thinking sessions when I am in a healthy state of mind, and not when I am frustrated or despairing over my lack of control of my busy schedules and "problems"

Friday, September 2, 2011

Proactive interference/ inhibition - Your little gremlin

Our minds are not so unlike this response a computer gives when you try to replace data with similar data. Interestingly, unless we are aware of this, our minds will click "no" by default. This is called proactive interference, or proactive inhibition. This imprinting within our minds is our way of protecting data that we have already stored. It all gets very interesting though, when you look closely at the data - for its a lot more complex than just stored words and knowledge. You've heard of that little "gremlin" that sits on your shoulder and tells you how foolish you are for daring to begin a new healthy habit such as going to the gym or reading every day. Your proactive inhibition has built a force field around the dialogues inside your head that transpire in day to day life. You have comfortable patterns, built in responses to all the stimuli in your life, of course your mind wants to protect that! The alternative is to build new neural pathways, condition your mind to adapt to manually chosen responses - that's too much work! Lets just exist within the deeply entrenched pathways that auto responses have labored for years to construct. In understanding this, it becomes clearer why its so frigging hard to build a habit - for its not just the new file we are trying to bring in, its the old file we must be sure to delete. That window in the illustration sits in our mind the moment we begin a similar transaction - the moment where we say "hey, you know what? Its high time I chose a healthier habit, a happier life, dedicated more time to my kids, to learning, to reading" because this is not what you have done for the years prior.

Our subconscious is incredibly powerful, and left to its own devices - it will do what it must with the knowledge and sensory perception that it is given to keep you alive, to avoid the chemicals associated with stress from being produced. After long years of conditioning - it can perceive "quitting cholesterol" or "reading more" as stressful - even though the new file your trying to replace the old file with has clear and powerful proof of the opposite! You understand the data as you stand there choosing it and feeling it, yet days later its as if you don't care! That's the subconscious clicking "no" by virtue of proactive interference, its just doing its job after all - keeping things familiar and known.

Don't feel so bad when you get to day three of your diet and have setbacks, or give up on the gym, or realize that you have let yet another week go by without working on your hobby. This is what we are designed to do, but that doesn't mean quit! You can click "yes" if you choose to and although the process is ongoing and challenging, its really all about becoming "aware" of when your mind is in the exact instant of choosing an aged, conditioned response that puts you in the mindframe of the old habits. For example - Imagine you set a goal to go to the gym after work Monday through Friday. You're psyched, your living the future experience and can't wait to get started. You are inspired and motivated to do this. Monday rolls around... you come home from work and a series of entrenched stimulus / responses begin, they are as simple as flicking the light on, putting your keys on the counter, opening the fridge, getting a beer or bottle of water and as this motor begins whirring - you suddenly find you have plopped yourself on the couch just like every day after work prior. You have completed the after work ritual and your mind has now begun its dialogue "man I'm tired" "what a long day" - and as I'm sure you are aware - for every thought you have - your body physiologically responds. You suddenly FEEL more tired, you FEEL like a break is owed, well shit now we got the whole orchestra of habitual behavior going! Wait.... didn't you say you were going to the gym after work? Well good luck telling your body that! It has now entered a state of "no thank you, I'm way too tired for that! Me and this body here aren't going anywhere! And so.... "no" is clicked again, and you will have to pull that file back out again another day and psyche yourself up to hope you can convince your future self to click "yes"

Lets rewind this situation and see if we can curb the proactive inhibition, the series of programmed, conditioned responses... flicking a light on and putting your keys on the counter could be a good place to start - but if you want the powerful moment its probably that damn couch. Its comfy and its a place you have sat hundreds of times, relying on its powerful ability to make you feel relaxed. You need to look at that couch and recognize its power of changing your state - in doing so you are saying "I am in control" ... eff you couch! I will relax when I have scheduled some relaxation - not when you tell me to! In that MOMENT... of standing up and not sitting down you have a chance to have MANUAL internal dialogue because you have broken the ritual. You can now take some control back and switch the ritual motor OFF and go change and get ready for the gym. NOW A NEW ritual begins.. you are in manual mode... each sock you put on and each article of clothing you put in your gym bag is a new response, and its building this positive charge in you with each step - because hey - happiness is all about control - and even the little moments count.

So find those stimuli, those environments that pull your subconscious into a ritual of habit, this small thought/ step will be crucial as you replace data. The old routes / pathways will take some time to fill back up and create new ones that stick - but it will happen. Anticipate setbacks - your mind is just WAITING for an excuse to unleash the proactive interference gremlin and shout " I told you so! Now can we get back home and put the TV on for the love of Pete?"

Click "yes"...
start today.